EDITORIAL: Political ambition beats commitment in Coquitlam

One year ago, Selina Robinson and Linda Reimer asked for your vote. Next spring, they’ll ask for your vote again. Your money, too.

Robinson and Reimer are Coquitlam city councillors. Each announced her plan to run for council in October 2011. Each was re-elected on Nov. 19, 2011, Robinson topping the polls among eight winners and 16 council candidates, Reimer placing third. In all, 9,635 Coquitlam residents voted for Robinson, 9,093 for Reimer.

Coquitlam voters didn’t know at the time that both would see a political opportunity and — those same 9,000-plus voters be damned — go for it.

In September, Robinson announced she would run for the NDP nomination to replace Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Diane Thorne. This week, Reimer announced she would run for the BC Liberal nomination in the riding of Port Moody-Coquitlam to challenge NDP MLA Joe Trasolini, who, it should be noted, finished his term as PoMo mayor before running for the NDP in a provincial byelection.

If one or both wins in the May 2013 provincial election — just 18 months after they ran for office, or halfway through the three-year terms to which they committed when sworn in last December — a byelection will need to be called in Coquitlam.

The last Coquitlam byelection — held in May 2010 after Fin Donnelly resigned his council job, also halfway through his council term, after he won the New Westminster-Coquitlam MP’s seat for the NDP in a 2009 federal byelection — cost Coquitlam taxpayers about $125,000 and a city official said a byelection this term would cost about the same.

Asked about abandoning Coquitlam voters, Robinson told The Tri-City News in September that it “doesn’t feel good but I also believe that I’m the best candidate to represent the citizens of our community in Victoria.”

Reimer this week said, “It’s a chance to represent my constituents at the provincial level. It’s a new experience. It’s a growth.”

“Represent the citizens” and “growth”? Poppycock.

This is political ambition and, clearly, ambition trumps the commitment of councillors Reimer and Robinson to the people of Coquitlam.


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